I am travelling to India and Nepal shortly. My understanding is that the bottled water there can be very heavily contaminated with pesticides. Can a purifying filter can actually remove pesticides – my assumption was it couldn’t. If not, then what would be the best source of water for purification with chlorine tablets? And would there be any advice about whether soft drinks generally in those countries are also heavily contaminated with pesticides?
There is a way to remove pesticides from water - with a Granulated Activated carbon filter. But it's a device about the size of a car! I'm exaggerating - it's about the size and shape of a swimming pool filter (including motor). not really going to fit in your backpack.
You're right about contamination of bottled water supplies in Nepal - a study published in 2008 found 12% of food products sampled had pesticide contamination.
No indication from the study which "food products" and if soft drinks were included.
In 2010 the Food Technology and Quality Control Department of Nepal tested 302 Nepal manufactured products and 60 were contaminated - most of them water products - with bacteria and micro-organisms (no mention of pesticides).
The FTQCD Nepal says as many as 1 in 4 brands of bottled water is adulterated.
The situation in India is worse, where 65% of bottled water suppliers simply pump the water, untreated, from local bores or municipal water supplies.
In 2003, New Delhi's independent Centre for Science and Environment tested 30 brands of Indian bottled water and found ALL had significant levels of pesticide residue.
What can you do?
Sorry, but there are no portable filters for removing pesticides, and it's doubtful they're good enough to remove common bacteria and contaminants.
The good news: the acid content of carbonated drinks is usually sufficient to kill bacteria (again, pesticides are a different matter).
The best way to purify water: boiling is obviously the best for killing bacteria (but doesn't remove toxins) and you can only do this while at camp.
For water purification on the go, Dr Thomas Dietz from Emergency and Wilderness Medicine recommends putting 4 drops of Betadine to a litre of water, and leaving it for 30 minutes.
Dr Dietz has a thorough discussion of the topic here: http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/water.html
As for avoiding pesticides: perhaps you could choose only imported water and soft drink. US and European manufacturers are held to a much higher quality standard, and are more likely to produce a toxin-free and purified product. Sorry, that's the best i can suggest. This is a big, worldwide, problem. Phil over 8 years ago
Phil is right...not a lot of portable options for pesticides. For protozoa, turbid water, and other nasties, a portable filter like a Katadyn or MSR will work. If you want to zap protozoa and viruses, then a UV light like a Steripen is supposes to work. For heavy metals, distillation and flocculation is supposed to work. I am not associated to any of these products but you can read lots of reviews on the net. There is also a good water guide that you can read on the Katadyn website. over 7 years ago
Check out water purification wands. I had a friend use one in Nepal and never got sick. She 'wanded' my tap water in Thailand - same thing - perfectly healthy! They're easy, compact and non-toxic. Some info here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/business/02novel.html
A quick search online will give you plenty of other great info. over 7 years ago
There are no nutrients in water. It does pick up minerals as it runs over and through the Earth. Those minerals and the amounts all vary by location and by day to day. None of those minerals are considered nutrients of water and can be gotten from other sources.
Both Pur and Brita are simply basic filters. They remove chlorine and only improve taste, color, and smell. They do NOTHING for improving the health of water and do not remove fluoride. Even advanced purification systems do not remove beneficial minerals or fluoride. about 6 years ago